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The Jungle Book | Chapter 4 : Road-Song of the Bandar-Log | Summary



The Monkey People sit high up in the trees, singing a joyful and boastful song about their "extra hands" and tails, "Curved in the shape of a Cupid's bow." This song shows how the Bandar-log, the Monkey People, believe they are wonderful, smart, and accomplished, but in reality, they are too fascinated by their own tails and too distracted to get anything done. They toss rubbish and filth from the trees as they insist they are "going to do some splendid things." They pretend the Jungle People are jealous of them, and they pretend to talk like humans, even though they are just jabbering.


This chapter expands on the theme of laws and obedience by showing what happens when a group of animals doesn't have a set of laws or any desire to obey any higher ideal. The lesson of the song is: by being self-absorbed, individuals or a group accomplish nothing. If the Monkey People would use their energy and creativity to actually do anything worthwhile, they might accomplish great things, but they do not have the persistence of the wolves or of Mowgli. Their inability to have a leader or rules makes them unable to persist in anything but examining their own tails.

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